Islamic Law

The Sharia from Muhammad’s Time to the Present

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About the Book

The sharia is a set of traditional laws that define a Muslim’s obligations to God and his fellow human beings. Westerners often misunderstand the nature of the sharia, born as it is of a complicated legal and academic tradition that may not always seem relevant to today’s world. Written for those unfamiliar with Islam, this volume provides an accurate and objective assessment of the sharia’s achievements, shortcomings and future prospects. It explores the fundamentals of Islam and traditional sharia laws. In addition, the sharia is discussed with respect to Ottoman law, puritanism and jihad. The sharia’s relevance to today’s world events is also explored. Among items provided in appendices are a commentary on a Western translation of the concept of jihad and an analysis of the sharia in 29 selected countries.

About the Author(s)

Hunt Janin is an American writer living in southwestern France. He has written numerous nonfiction and scholarly books on a range of subjects, including medieval history and cross-cultural studies.
André Kahlmeyer has a MA degree in Middle Eastern studies and has studied, traveled, worked, and learned Arabic in the Middle East. He now focuses on Middle Eastern issues, working for a developmental aid agency as project officer for Islamic countries.

Bibliographic Details

Hunt Janin and André Kahlmeyer
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 215
Bibliographic Info: chronology, appendices, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2921-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0881-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v

Introduction      1

1. Fundamentals of Islam      9

2. Traditional Sharia Law: Obligations to God and to Fellow Human Beings      28

3. The Sharia and Its Jurists: From the Beginnings to al-Shatibi’s Legal Reforms      48

4. Ottoman Law in the Golden Age of the Empire: Süleyman the Magnificent      81

5. The Sharia Under Wahhabi Puritanism and Incursions by the West      88

6. The Sharia and Jihad      105

7. The Sharia in the World Today      130

8. Islamic Banking      170

9. The Future of Islamic Law: Reform or Retrenchment?      175

Appendix 1: Al-Shafi’i’s Views on Legal Knowledge      179

Appendix 2: Translating the Concept of Jihad      181

Appendix 3: The Sharia in 29 Selected Countries Today      182

Appendix 4: Selected Chronolog y, c. 570–2001      183

Glossary      187

Chapter Notes      191

Bibliography      199

Index      205